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Yamina party proposes 0.5m more Israel settlers in northern West Bank

August 22, 2019 at 11:40 am

Israeli police officers and Jewish settlers close the main street, leading to the settlement of Yitzhar near the West Bank city of Nablus, on 8 Nov. 2015. [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]

Party leaders from right-wing alliance Yamina yesterday announced a plan to construct 113,000 housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, reported the Times of Israel.

According to Yamina, the plan – which would see the settler population rise by some half a million – is a solution to Israel’s housing crisis, which has seen rising house prices.

“The Tel Aviv metropolitan area is almost as crowded as Gaza and as expensive as New York,” Yamina chair and former justice minister Ayelet Shaked claimed at a press conference held to launch the plan in Etz Efraim settlement.

 “The different magic tricks we’ve seen in recent years haven’t worked. The solution is simple: to lower prices you must increase supply,” she added. 

Yamina is looking to construct 113,000 settler housing units over a period of five years, effectively linking Ariel – deep in the northern occupied West Bank – and Rosh Ha’ayin inside the Green Line.

READ: Israel Education Ministry to fund occupied West Bank school trips 

The right-wing alliance’s number three candidate, Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, said that by combining “ideology with practicality” the plan would help “erase the Green Line”.

Yamina’s official position is that Israel should move to formally annex Area C of the West Bank.

As reported by the Jerusalem Post, the plan would bring the total number of settlers in the West Bank to one million. Yamina “estimates that the Israeli population will reach 10 million by the year 2024”, said the Post, “and it wants one million of those people to live in Samaria [the West Bank]”.

As part of the plan, Yamina seeks to add additional lanes to Route 5, which would “be extended eastward to reach the Jordan Valley” in the eastern flank of the West Bank.